Russians: Imbibe infinite amounts of vodka, have no problem roaming shirtless in heavy snow and are genetically forced to wear red.
Popinski’s real name comes from the original arcade Punch-Out!! game, where he was called Vodka Drunkenski. The negative stereotype was likely intentional, as the arcade game was released in 1984, when the Russians were consistently portrayed as anti-American villains. Naturally Nintendo altered that for the NES release, changing his vice to soda instead of vodka.
Also, notice how his skin is ever so slightly redder than the rest of the boxers. Probably because he’s a commie.
Above: Cold War’s over, right?
Finally, as Russian citizens, both he and Zangief have to engage in regular bouts of the Cossack Dance:
Above: In Soviet Russia… street fights you?
Tasteful Russian trivia: The Soviet Union shocked the world in 1957 by successfully launching the first artificial satellite into space. Sputnik I is the reason we have NASA, and it kick-started the space race that ultimately led to Apollo 11’s 1969 moon landing.
Canadians: Are husky mountain men who love the outdoors, ice hockey and drink maple syrup like it’s their lifeblood.
Bear Hugger revels in his Canadian heritage, from guzzling syrup to choppin’ down trees to, argh, shaving his chest hair in the shape of an evergreen tree. We have a native Canuck in the office (one Tyler Wilde), and he had this to say about Punch-Out!!’s gross exaggeration of his people:
“This is absolute malarkey – we only directly consume maple syrup on special occasions and holidays, such as Canada Day. And even then we would never drink directly from the bottle - we use goose-shaped goblets carved from pine wood.”
Above: Tyler’s favorite thing to do
Tasteful Canadian trivia: Basketball is typically associated with America, and those modest Canadians let us get away with it despite one of their own inventing the damn thing. James Naismith thought it up as something for his students to do during the region’s bitterly cold winters.
American celebrities: Are overly tan, materialistic narcissists obsessed with fame, money and appearance.
Super Macho Man is a parody of not just celebrities, but Hollywood and American’s fascination with celebrities in general. He’s always surrounded by money-grubbing models despite being a gold-toothed old man, and he’s constantly posing and flexing for the camera, a comment both on Americans’ personal priorities and how we constantly reward people who engage in this behavior.
His posturing is still over the top in the Wii version, but the NES Macho Man, in addition to being a bit younger, is notorious for his victory taunt, which you can now never un-see.
Above: The freakish, nipple-less Macho Man from Super Punch-Out!!
Tasteful celebrity trivia: We’re not sure which celebrity has given the most money to charity, but we do know that Moby offers his music for free to any non-profit organization that asks for it. Furthermore, any money made off of for-profit licensing is completely donated to the Humane Society.
Next page – The Irish, Indians and Spaniards have their moment.
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